Bosu Ball Step-ups: How To, Benefits,…

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Just because you can use a piece of equipment does not mean it is effective. Find out how to do Bosu Ball step-ups and whether they are good.

Bosu Ball step-ups are simply a variation of step-ups where you do the exercise by stepping on a Bosu Ball instead of any other elevated surface.

The Bosu Ball makes the step-ups focus slightly more on the muscles around your ankles, your core muscles, and your balance skills.

On the other hand, you will not be able to do heavy weighted step-ups due to the Bosu Ball weight limit and balance challenge.

These things make Bosu Ball step-ups decent for people who want to train their ankle muscles and balance.

However, if you want to really work the main muscles of the exercise optimally, you likely want to stick to regular step-ups and other compound leg exercises.

How to do a Bosu Ball step-up

As you can expect you need a good Bosu Ball to do this exercise. Once you have that, take the following steps to do a Bosu Ball step-up:

  1. Put the Bosu Ball with the flat part on the ground and stand in front of it with your face toward the ball.
  2. Put one foot on the Bosu Ball. You want your sole to be entirely on the round part but slightly to the side so there is room for the next steps.
  3. Raise your body by stretching the leg that is on the Bosu Ball until it is just not entirely extended. If needed for balance, you can put your other foot on the Bosu Ball.
  4. Slowly lower your body again by folding the leg that took the first step.
  5. Complete your set on one side and do the same number of Bosu Ball step-ups on the other leg.
How to do a Bosu Ball step-up

You want to make the Bosu Ball step-ups on each side about equally challenging to avoid any muscle imbalances.

If needed, you can also hold something sturdy while doing the Bosu Ball step-ups to avoid falling.

To focus more on your inner thigh muscles, outer thigh muscles, ankle muscles, balance, and coordination, you can also do side-to-side step-ups.

Bosu Ball step-ups muscles worked

Bosu Ball step-ups mainly work your ankle, quadricep (front thigh), glute (butt), hamstring (back thigh), inner thigh, outer thigh, and calf muscles.

You can say that Bosu Ball step-ups also work your core muscles to a small extent.

The Bosu Ball mainly makes it so the step-ups work the muscles around your ankles more. Your core muscles also have to work just a bit harder due to the unstable surface.

That being said, there are also downsides to Bosu Ball step-ups when it comes to working muscles.

First of all, there are Bosu Ball weight limits that limit how much extra weight you can use in step-ups.

Secondly, Bosu Ball step-ups can be challenging in terms of balance. Especially if you use extra weights. Even if these are something like a weighted vest where you can still move your arms.

These things tend to be big downsides for working the main leg muscles involved in Bosu Ball step-ups. Your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings need a lot of resistance to grow and strengthen.

In short, resistance training beginners could see some improvements in other muscles but Bosu Ball step-ups will typically mainly be an ankle muscle endurance exercise.

Benefits of Bosu Ball step-ups

Just because Bosu Ball step-ups are not the number one exercise for bigger quads and glutes does not mean they don’t do anything.

Some of the benefits of Bosu Ball step-ups include:

  1. Muscle endurance: Bosu Ball step-ups should still be challenging enough to improve endurance in certain muscles. Especially the ones around your ankles.
  2. Can help avoid injuries: Improving the muscle endurance and tendon strength around your ankles with Bosu Ball step-ups can help you avoid injuries.
  3. Balance & coordination: It is possible that your first few Bosu Ball step-ups will not look the prettiest. Over time, doing exercises that are challenging in terms of balance and coordination can improve your skills.
  4. Can make daily activities easier: Improving the muscle endurance around your ankles and potentially your core means Bosu Ball step-ups can make daily activities like walking around and climbing stairs easier.

You don’t have to stick to Bosu Ball step-ups to get these benefits but they could align with your fitness goals and personal preferences.

Bosu Ball step-up alternatives

The effects of Bosu Ball step-ups are somewhat different than many people expect. Additionally, you may just want to know what other Bosu Ball leg exercises there are out there.

In these cases, you can consider some of the following Bosu Ball step-up alternatives:

  • (Bosu Ball) Squats
  • Regular step-ups
  • (Bosu Ball) Lunges
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Leg extensions

What you are trying to achieve, what fitness equipment you have, and what exercises you like doing will influence your decision between these Bosu Ball step-up alternatives.

Are Bosu Ball step-ups a good exercise?

Bosu Ball step-ups are a good exercise for improving ankle muscle endurance and balance.

You still work some of the bigger leg muscles like your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings to some extent too.

However, because of the balance challenge and weight limit of the Bosu Balls, Bosu Ball step-ups are typically not that good for working these bigger leg muscles.

So if you like doing Bosu Ball step-ups and want to improve ankle muscle endurance and balance, you can consider adding this exercise to your routine.

On the flip side, to really grow and strengthen your main leg muscles you want to turn to step-up alternatives and the regular version of the exercise.

Additionally, even for improving ankle muscle endurance and balance you may find other exercises more enjoyable.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.